How to Clean Clay Pavers

Discussion in 'Tile, Stone, & Grout Care' started by Decker01, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. Decker01

    Decker01 Syndicated FatCat Entreprenuer

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    Ok, I think these are clay pavers. Installed indoors in an industrial office setting. They are incredibly dirty. This area is in a small kitchen and shows some good variation in color so you can actually see the tiles.

    Should these be cleaned like soft stone, such as travertine? Should they be sealed? Can I put a 175 and nylon brush on it without fear of it dissolving? A scratch test shows it is easily scratched and in a soft red powdery substance inside the scratched area. I can find no evidence of a sealer on it, but god only knows whats going on there.

    Need a little guidance on this one.

    clay pavers.jpg
     
  2. Torrey W

    Torrey W Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    I've cleaned those with crazy success.

    Normal tile and grout cleaner, agitation and normal extraction
     
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  3. Decker01

    Decker01 Syndicated FatCat Entreprenuer

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    I read not to seal them. Have you sealed?

    Does the whole tile absorb and retain soils like stone?
     
  4. Torrey W

    Torrey W Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    I can't say for sure, but I would treat it like a travertine.
     
  5. Kipp

    Kipp Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    Mike these are mexican tiles (yes clay) aka Saltillo tile. You can clean with a normal degreaser, however do not use high heat when rinsing. there is a topical sealer on them and the heat will cause severe flaking. 175 machine and a scrub grit II brush was my best friend on these jobs. Also you need to educate the customer up front on the expected results. Saltillo tile is intended to get an "aged" look over time. The grout will more than likely never get back to the original grey. The tile should clean up very well HOWEVER it all depends on who has cleaned and sealed this floor in the past. There is the potential that someone cleaned the floor but didn't get all the dirt off and went ahead and sealed it. In this case you can have dirt between the sealer levels. The floor can clean up really well though, I highly recommend that you sell a coating or two of sealer with the job. Let the customer know that by just cleaning it can dull the finish of the floor and also that it can actually wear through the sealer in parts exposing the clay tile itself. Let me round up a couple pics for you and I'll make another post on this.
     
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  6. Kipp

    Kipp Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    Here's a job I was actually stripping the sealer off. The tile was so nasty cleaning it was futile...You can also use a water based stripper and do what I call a "semi-strip". It won't usually take it down to the raw tile however it takes the top layer off. You will need to tape off if you are going to strip though...charge big $$!

    (This is my helper by the way, not me lol...I take dumps bigger that that guy)

    2c93d027.jpg
     
  7. Kipp

    Kipp Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    When you do a full strip the grout lines will clean up alot better...keep in mind that the clay tiles will absorb moisture fast...try to do small sections, rinse and dry as quickly as possible...don't have to worry about this if just cleaning though.

    I had to wait 3 days for this floor to dry enough to seal...even though your using a water based topical sealer you can't trap to much moisture in the tile or else you will end up with blistering down the road from the moisture trying to escape...

    c358859d.jpg
     
  8. Kipp

    Kipp Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    Here's a standard clean and seal I did...the tile has already been cleaned and you can see how dull the finish is compared to putting a coat of topical sealer on it

    cce3968e.jpg
     
  9. Decker01

    Decker01 Syndicated FatCat Entreprenuer

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    Only had an hour to get the quote in... maybe I'll get lucky and not get the job?! He said not until summer anyway.

    I priced it in between tile and stone and told him sealing will be additional (maybe I can catch up on the seal). Its about 1300 sq ft.

    The floor is pretty dirty. I think if I can improve the visual without ruining the floor they will be happy. At least I'll have another paid learning experience. I should probably bring @Daniel Provorse along. It seems he gets to see all of my learning experiences!

    Who puts this stuff in a commercial office in a shop yard anyway?

    Thanks for all info @Kip Stoltzfus AKA $1KaDay . I'm going to learn this floor, so keep throwing the info out there. I have a Mexican restaurant I eat at a lot that has a floor like this. I've been scared to approach them.
     
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  10. Daniel Provorse

    Daniel Provorse FatCat Player

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    Learning experiences for the both of us and I appreciate that.
     
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  11. Decker01

    Decker01 Syndicated FatCat Entreprenuer

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    And its on the south side, so you wont have to travel as far.

    He did ask to add the sealer, so the quote is enough to cover 3 days work and light material cost. I should be able to do anything to 1300 sq ft in 3 days.

    Now lets just see if he gets the approval.
     
  12. Kipp

    Kipp Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    You and 99% of other cleaners....if you can master saltillo tile cleaning you can really have a niche market, most guys run from those jobs. It's definitely one you need to get a few jobs under you belt because your approach can change each time. Sometimes a good degreaser like Flex w/citra and a black pad will do enough to restore a floor like you have above. Follow up with some grout scrubbing, warm to cold water rinse and seal....

    So sealing these floors, I used a fox tail push broom and fox tail hand held brush. I used Plaza sealer, however there are several good topical sealers that work (ole is another one). The trick to getting a good seal on one or two applications is to get the absolute most sealer down you can per coat without pooling. So what I would do is take small sections in a room and work my way around them. Just pour some sealer out on the floor and work it around the section...making figure 8 motions with the push broom work the best. On the edges just push the broom down and angle it...like you would a paint brush and you can usually just cut the edges in.

    Get enough sealer down so that it pools slightly in the low areas...then start section #2, repeat. Once done go back to section #1 and spread out any pooled areas. Then do the same on section #2. Then start #3.

    Then just repeat process going back to whatever is still getting any pooling.

    This method will get you a nice thick coat down and avoid costly labor expenses of multiple coats...especially time waiting for it to dry between coats.

    Bring fans and get them on each room as you go...you can usually get it dry enough in a hour for a second coat.

    Don't let customer return furniture for 6-8 hours though.
     
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  13. Kipp

    Kipp Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    Here's before, stripped, and after shots
    1f2935ff.jpg
    8b2f7231.jpg
    c25b48c3.jpg
     
  14. Craig Harrison

    Craig Harrison FatCat Member

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    Looks great, Kip
     
  15. Fritz

    Fritz FatCat Noob

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    Fritz Wittmann
    Good information. I specialize in saltillos in California and have numerous jobs on my blog involving super saltillos, regular saltillos, and the like. What I find about the grout is if they have been maintained properly (cleaned and sealed), the Saltillo tile grout can last and actually keep its original color. We did a job with sahara tan grout (my fav because of the beautiful light non contrasting colors) and the customer actually couldn't even tell it was another color until we stripped the tiles down to the bare stone by hand and removed all the topical coating sealer that embedded the dirt. Here is our most recent Saltillo tile project done on Coronado Island Califronia http://www.californiatilerestoratio...e-cleaning-refinishing-installation-services/

    Keep up the great info and check us out at http://www.californiatilerestoration.com
     
  16. Lance Golden

    Lance Golden FatCat Player

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    Kip, Do you know of a stripper that is aggressive enough to take up seal without removing the "yellow paint stripes"?
     
  17. Royalty Tile Cleanling

    Royalty Tile Cleanling FatCat Noob

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    Craig Winchell
    Hello!
    We have done saltillo tile in the past, with alright results, but we are bidding on a high end home and want to knock it out of the park since we have just relocated our business here. I have a few questions, if you don't mind.

    1. If the owner is unsure if the saltillo tile had been sealed, and it looks like efflorescence, then it more than likely is the sealer starting to come up. Which then means that it would need to be stripped?

    2. These are outdoors, and in the past we have used machines to clean, but I saw on your website you choose to do everything by hand. Is it more cost efficient to do saltillo tile by hand?

    3. They want an enhanced sealer put on, and in the past we have used Stonetechs natural stone enhancer pro with great results, but it is costly, so do you have something else that you would recommend?
     
  18. Paul Notarstefano

    Paul Notarstefano FatCat Noob

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    Normal tile and grout cleaning and extraction has to work for it.
     
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